Saturday, September 25, 2010


Art Tatum

Art Tatum tended to work alone — few musicians could keep pace with him — the advanced harmonic vocabulary and all.

Blind in one eye and the other eye forever weakening, he drew deeply from the great American songbook: Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, popular tunes from the 20s-40s, building upon a stride and classical piano background, which went on to influence Bud Powell, Monk, Bill Evans and about any other musician who lent an ear, no matter their instrument.

My favorite remark about Art Tatum is by the pianist Kenny Barron, "I have every record [Tatum] ever made — and I try never to listen to them … If I did, I'd throw up my hands and give up!"

That's versatile Ben Webster joining Tatum on this recording.

Gone to us before the age of 50 (d. 1959), his wife Geraldine was buried beside him at Forest Lawn Cemetery at her passing in May 2010.